I want to talk about a subject that I think a lot of us may be dealing with, which is how do we get our healthy eating mojo back now that the holidays are over so we can keep moving toward our health and wellness goals?
When January 2nd rolled around, I was totally dealing with the same issue myself. I got back from my “trip” to Virginia on the evening of December 23rd and Deb and I had decided in advance that as soon as I got home our holidays would begin. I was injured and I was bummed out about the prospect of being sidelined from triathlon for a while, not to mention that Christmas was just a little bit weird for me this year because my son was with his Dad and not with me for the first time ever.
So, what did I do? I used the fact that it was the holidays and that I was “allowed” to eat whatever I wanted as a license to essentially eat my feelings! And I did. Now, I wasn’t nearly as off the rails as I’ve been in years past, but I pretty much ignored every “rule” that I had been living by for the past 6 months and just let it be.
Happily, there wasn’t a lot of damage done, even though I had more “free days’ than I really intended to. But, boy did I have some trouble getting back up on the horse after January 1st rolled around. So, I started using my own tools and I was able to quickly turn things around. So, I thought I’d share my top 10 tools for getting your healthy eating mojo back with you!
Tool #1. DRINK MORE WATER! Look, I know I harp on the water thing, but when we’re dehydrated none of our body’s processes work optimally. We need to be well-hydrated in order to drop whatever holiday weight we may have gained. Drinking water helps boost the metabolism, cleanses the body of waste, and acts as an appetite suppressant. Also, drinking more water helps our body stop retaining water, which leads to dropping those extra holiday pounds of water weight. And make no mistake, that’s what we’re talking about when it comes to any weight that was gained over the holidays – it is HIGHLY unlikely that you actually gained fat.
Tool #2. Employ the power of accountability. If there is something you want to start doing – or re-start doing – or turn into a habit, the best way I know to go about it is to track it. I promise you, there IS an app for that something out there somewhere. For example, I wanted to make sure I was drinking enough water over the holiday, so I found a great app that reminded me to drink water on a schedule (Drink Water). When it pinged, I drank – easy peasy! So, if there is an area of your plan that you are struggling with, find an app that will help hold you accountable to your goals. Better yet, find an accountability buddy who will keep you on the straight and narrow.
Tool #3. Get organized! Does this sound familiar? You hit the snooze button on your alarm clock one too many times and find yourself running late. Then your teenager suddenly remembers that he has a test to retake before school and needs a ride. The dog has to go outside at the last minute. As you hit the door, you remember that you forgot to pack your lunch the night before and now you have no food! Looks like you’ll have to eat out at lunchtime. Not that I know ANYTHING about a scenario like THAT! But anyhow… Eating clean and healthy is a lot more labor intensive than just ordering takeout every day, but the results are so worth it. So, to take some of the frazzlemania out of the equation, getting organized is crucial! Take one evening or weekend afternoon per week and prep all your lunches for the week. Then you just have to grab a container out of the fridge, throw it in your bag, and you’re good to go. It’s so much calmer and takes all the guesswork out of our crazy mornings.
Tool #4. Invert your meals. Eat your biggest meal of the day early in the day and your smallest meal at dinnertime. Studies have shown that eating your largest meal earlier in the day helps boost metabolism. Deb and I have been doing this on the advice of our acupuncturist for several months now and it really does seem to help.
Tool #5. Clear out the crap and restock with the good stuff. If you haven’t already, go through your fridge, freezer, cupboards, and pantry and get rid of the less than desirable foods that may have crept back in over the holidays. You can throw it away or donate it or give it to a friend – I don’t care what you do with it, but get it out of your house! If it’s there and you see it on a regular basis you will want it. If there is nothing in the house but high-quality ingredient type foods, then THAT’S what you’ll eat. If you can fall back on the junk in the name of just getting rid of it then that’s what you’ll do. Close the escape hatches and get rid of the option!
Tool #6. Set up a reward system for staying on track. Decide on some metrics that you want to meet (like drinking the right amount of water each day) and reward yourself (non-food, please) for hitting your marks. For example, say you want to make sure to stay under the recommended level of added sugar. Every week or month that you hit your goal, you might book in for a massage or a pedicure, or buy a new outfit, or just do something fun and pampering.
Tool #7. Set a goal. If you want to achieve something, set a goal and the intention to do it! It doesn’t have to be a certain number of pounds lost – in fact, I would caution you against attaching your goal to a number on the scale. So many things influence what we weigh that have nothing to do with the amount of fat on our bodies. But maybe you set a goal to wear a certain outfit that you haven’t been able to wear in years. Or maybe you set a goal to walk 1,000,000 steps between now and June 1st (that’s 10,417 steps every weekday between today and May 31st). Setting a goal and knowing that you have to make progress toward it each day is a powerful motivation to keep going.
Tool #8. Create a morning routine. This has been a huge one for me. I don’t know about you, but if I can get things right in the morning, my whole day seems to go much more smoothly. I was struggling mid-year in 2017. I was trying to fit in so many things – final edits to the new book, a new health coaching certification program, triathlon training, meditation, all the other work that goes along with the business, my own personal development, and on and on. I didn’t know how I was going to fit everything in. Plus, I’m a morning person, so if I’m going to get major creative things done, it has to be early in the day. Pushing my workouts until after dinner was NOT working for me. Something had to give. So, in a desperate attempt to regain some measure of control, I scheduled out my morning: 1 hour for meditation… 15 minutes of yoga… 30 minutes of personal growth reading… 15 minutes of Imagineering… 1 hour for writing SOMETHING… 1 hour for my health coaching certification coursework… and 1 hour for working out… 30 minutes for a shower. It meant I had to set my alarm at 3:15 am in order to get everything done and be at my desk by 9 am, but darn it, I felt SO successful on the days that I got all those things accomplished! It translated into a huge snowball of positive energy that rippled through every facet of my day, including how I ate. So, what things are you trying to cram in around the edges that are important to you? How can you turn them into a routine that calms you instead of being frazzled and feeling guilty all the time?
Tool #9. Plan menus with your favorite healthy meals. I think it goes without saying that eating clean and healthy is so much easier when we actually enjoy the food, right? If you’re struggling with staying on course with the food you eat, why not make sure that you really look forward to the meals you’re preparing. For instance, last night I made a leek frittata with roasted potatoes for dinner and we looked forward to that meal all day long because we KNEW it was going to be terrific! It was worth it to stay on the straight and narrow because we had a really great dinner to look forward to.
Tool #10. Forgive and Forget. It doesn’t matter how sideways your eating plan went over the holidays. It’s over. It’s in the past and there is nothing you can do to change it. It’s OKAY! I mean, did I eat more than my fair share of Christmas cookies between Christmas Eve and New Years Day? You bet I did and I don’t regret it for even a second. I could have beaten myself up about it and gotten all weepy, but NO! I enjoyed it and that was that. I didn’t particularly WANT to throw away the leftover cookies and get back on track, but I did it anyway. Yes, it’s been challenging getting back into the groove, but I’m doing it – and doing it without flogging myself over everything I ate over the holiday. Forgive yourself and move on.
So, there you go, My top 10 tools for getting your UH mojo back after the holidays. I hope they help you like they helped me.
We’re filling our March 15th UnREALogical Health Fundamentals Online Coaching Program right now! Get all the details and register at www.DebCheslow.com/uh
About the Author: It’s difficult to believe that less than a decade ago Cheslow Achievement Group’s Chief Operating Officer, Angie Flynn, was sick, broke, overweight, out of shape, and completely out of control. In 2009 she met and hired Deb Cheslow as her coach in a last-ditch, Herculean effort to save her life. Within only months Angie’s life was unrecognizable. She had lost weight and regained her health… she started weightlifting and studying martial arts… she made small, common sense changes that yielded tremendous benefits and the seed of an idea began to sprout. Angie knew she was not unique – there were millions of people just like her out in the world who were sick and tired of being sick and tired, but just didn’t know where to turn for help. She had a dream to help people achieve peak health. She continued on her own path as a work in progress, earning her black belt in Chinese Kempo Karate in 2014, entering the world of endurance sport and becoming a marathoner and a long course triathlete. In 2016, Angie completed Ironman Florida (a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike, and 26.2 mile run all completed consecutively with a cutoff time of 17 hours) and in crossing that finish line she gained the courage and the confidence to finally help others overcome the struggles she had experienced for decades. A student at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (graduation May, 2018), Angie designs online health and wellness programs that tackle both the nutrition and the mindset sides of the weight loss puzzle. Angie Flynn is the best-selling co-author of the books Release: The Simple Success Solution for Real and Permanent Weight Loss, Overcome Dysthymia: Break Free and Create A Life You Love, and The Simple Success Solution. Angie lives in South Daytona, Florida with her family where she continues her passionate journey in endurance running and triathlon in her spare time.